HomeUncategorized11/16 News Roundup & Open Thread
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Nominating Ojeda would also be a very bad idea from a purely practical perspective. In trying to defeat Donald Trump, you do not want to run someone who voted for Donald Trump. “Even my opponent voted for me” is not a good look. Trump approaches politics as a dominance contest, and having given him your vote is a devastating show of weakness. Trump would exploit the hell out of it. Running a Trump voter against Trump himself would also not be the way to draw clear contrasts between the Democrats and the Republicans. Ojeda’s pro-life stance would not appeal to Democratic women, and his previous Trump support would hardly be likely to convince disillusioned black voters to start turning out again for the party.

I say “alas,” though, because I really did hope Ojeda could build a national political profile… eventually, through hard work and commitment. He seemed like the sort of person who could help rebuild the Democratic party’s fortunes in West Virginia. Granted, he had lost this race, but the margin was respectable, and he could spend the next couple of years organizing people and fighting for the interests of working West Virginians. If he proved himself to them, if he showed that he was in it for them and not just in it for media attention, then he would earn respect. Ojeda was important in the West Viriginia teacher’s strike, so he should spend more time helping rebuild labor power in his home state. But this isn’t what he did. I am not saying Richard Ojeda is “unqualified” to be president—I think qualifications are often overrated and I’d happily vote for anyone I thought would be good at the job no matter what their background. However, I do think you need to prove to the public that you’re trustworthy and not just enjoying the media attention.

Others have pointed out how strange it is that white men who lost their races this year (Ojeda, Beto O’Rourke) are being talked about as presidential candidates, while candidates of color who lost (Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum) are not. I do think it’s strange, and telling. Surely the whole idea of running O’Rourke or Ojeda would be that they’ve shown they can win their home states.

I’ve already made my position on 2020 clear: I think Democrats have only one clear option, Bernie Sanders. This is not because I’m fanatically committed to Sanders personally, but because I simply don’t see any other candidates who have his kind of progressive track record and can effectively challenge Donald Trump. Every other potential nominee is fatally flawed for me in one way or another—either they’re quite new to embracing left ideas, and therefore cannot be trusted to reliably fight for them, or they have political liabilities against Donald Trump (see, e.g., Elizabeth Warren’s disastrous response to the whole Native American issue). I am still open to the possibility that some new face will emerge. If they do, however, they need to meet some simple mandatory criteria like “has proven they can win elections in their home state” and “has shown themselves reliably committed to left values over a period of years.” Eventually, Richard Ojeda could have been this person. But he is not that person now, and he will not be in 2020.




Same here as well, Bring it home Bernie go the distance



Turkey said any US attempt to hush its investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s death won’t work after the White House reportedly considered extraditing an influential Turkish cleric that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for an attempted 2016 coup to quiet the probe.

NBC News reported on Thursday that the White House was looking for legal ways to deport Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric whose followers Erdogan has called “terrorists,” in exchange for Turkey taking pressure off the Saudi government over Khashoggi’s killing.

US national security and foreign policy experts were stunned by the report, and former National Security Council senior director Ned Price told INSIDER: “This is the Trump administration seeking to barter away a US resident who has lived here legally for years,” adding that such a move would be “seeking to skirt the rule of law.”


I’d be surprised if Gulen is extradited. He has some very influential friends, including the Clintons. But, since Gulen is basically a bargaining chip at this point, you never know.

If you are interested, check out this November 2018 report from the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and get your Ctrl+F on to find the many references in the report to Gulen.



Dems are rooting for the Supreme Court to take the case and rule against the gerrymander because then it will apply to the many more states where Republicans gerrymander.


Maryland’s attorney general on Thursday appealed to the Supreme Court a ruling that threw out the state’s congressional voting map and ordered officials to redraw lines before the 2020 election.

Brian E. Frosh (D) is asking the high court to quickly review the three-judge panel’s unanimous decision last week that found Democratic mapmakers violated the First Amendment rights of Republican voters.

Advocates for redistricting reform in Maryland see Frosh’s appeal as a chance for the Supreme Court to spell out clear rules that would apply to every state in the country. A national standard would undercut the argument from Maryland Democrats that choosing nonpartisan redistricting here is tantamount to unilateral political disarmament, since Republican-dominated states could still send lopsided delegations to Congress.

“To not hear this case would be a bad outcome because we would end up with a ruling that only applies to Maryland,” said Damon Effingham, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “It would still be incredibly difficult to get the reforms that we’re hoping for.”


I’m not confident the SCOTUS would take the case, and even if it does, the current makeup of the court is not likely to rule in favor.


Exactly! Surely Dems know this, if we do. wth.


Wi group is going to refile their case and include the 2018 data to the USSC.


As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange For Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom

THE TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT inadvertently revealed in a court filing that it has charged Julian Assange in a sealed indictment. The disclosure occurred through a remarkably amauetrish cutting-and-pasting error in which prosecutors unintentionally used secret language from Assange’s sealed charges in a document filed in an unrelated case. Although the document does not specify which charges have been filed against Assange, the Wall Street Journal reported that “they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.”

Over the last two years, journalists and others have melodramatically claimed that press freedoms were being assaulted by the Trump administration due to trivial acts such as the President spouting adolescent insults on Twitter at Chuck Todd and Wolf Blitzer or banning Jim Acosta from White House press conferences due to his refusal to stop preening for a few minutes so as to allow other journalists to ask questions. Meanwhile, actual and real threats to press freedoms that began with the Obama DOJ and have escalated with the Trump DOJ – such as aggressive attempts to unearth and prosecute sources – have gone largely ignored if not applauded.

But prosecuting Assange and/or WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents would be in an entirely different universe of press freedom threats. Reporting on the secret acts of government officials or powerful financial actors – including by publishing documents taken without authorization – is at the core of investigative journalism. From the Pentagon Papers to the Panama Papers to the Snowden disclosures to publication of Trump’s tax returns to the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, some of the most important journalism over the last several decades has occurred because it is legal and constitutional to publish secret documents even if the sources of those documents obtained them through illicit or even illegal means.

The Obama DOJ – despite launching notoriously aggressive attacks on press freedoms – recognized this critical principle when it came to WikiLeaks. It spent years exploring whether it could criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified information. It ultimately decided it would not do so, and could not do so, consistent with the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment. After all, the Obama DOJ concluded, such a prosecution would pose a severe threat to press freedom because there would be no way to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents without also prosecuting the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and others for doing exactly the same thing.

As the Washington Post put it in 2013 when it explained the Obama DOJ’s decision not to prosecute Assange:

Justice officials said they looked hard at Assange but realized that they have what they described as a “New York Times problem.” If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The baroness would have gone after Assange for sure if she were POTUS.


All Dem politicians need to be very careful


But those same rumblings can now be heard from the very same far-right factions, likewise threatening violence, in response to this month’s takeover of the House of Representatives by Democrats. There is legitimate reason for concern that right-wing terroristic violence will continue and perhaps increase — and that extremists could soon begin targeting politicians in office, especially if Trump singles them out for scorn.

The question of whether Trump’s rhetoric is inspiring acts of political violence now echoes nationally. Acts of terroristic violence in Florida and in Pittsburgh in the run-up to the midterm elections have already been inextricably linked to Trump’s hyperbolic language.

According to Chip Berlet, an expert on the populist right, the phenomenon we’re watching unfold is known to sociologists as “scripted violence.” “If a very popular leader who is high up — it doesn’t matter if it’s political or a political or a movement leader — basically alleges that some group of people is conspiring against the common good, and they harp on that for a long time, it’s only a matter of time before people get killed,” he recently explained.

Critically, those hate groups themselves appear to feel empowered by Trump, in no small part because of his propensity to hesitate to criticize them, embodied by the president’s description of white-nationalist Charlottesville protesters as “very fine people.” Trump’s defenders point to the president’s official disavowals, such as the statement he had issued two days before.

The problem is that not even the hate groups he’s disowning believe him. In chatrooms, message boards and alt-right blogs, the repudiations are interpreted as political necessities and dismissed as meaningless. Alt-right guru Richard Spencer sneered at Trump’s post-Charlottesville disavowal as “kumbaya nonsense,” adding: “Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously.”

Certainly Trump’s far-right devotees, including the white nationalists who have both marched in his name and have used his name while committing hate crimes have taken the example of his bellicose rhetoric and expanded on it in extremists’ inimitable fashion. As they did in the weeks before the 2016 election, militiamen across the nation have referenced violent uprisings and civil war in defense of Trump around the election.


Just thinking ahead a little; Lets assume Trumpcorp loses in 2020; the voter fraud accusations will rear its ugly head and he will not accept the results of the election. He wont admit defeat and fight the result any way possible. What would the alt right do? would trumpcorp have to be forcibly be removed from office? His narcissistic ego wont accept the results


The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

I’m glad to see Monbiot write this–influential people read him and we need all of those we can get on board.

A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We had no answer.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

All road signs point to the oligarchy.

The problem is political. A fascinating analysis by the social science professor Kevin MacKay contends that oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Control by oligarchs, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilisations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises”. Economic elites, which benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions.

The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Donald Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the influence of the Koch brothers in funding rightwing organisations; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; or the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.

Monbiot writes about a conference he attended where everyone talked about needing radical change and then turned around and asked for the opposite in submissions. He concluded,

Two tasks need to be performed simultaneously: throwing ourselves at the possibility of averting collapse, as Extinction Rebellion is doing, slight though this possibility may appear; and preparing ourselves for the likely failure of these efforts, terrifying as this prospect is. Both tasks require a complete revision of our relationship with the living planet.

Because we cannot save ourselves without contesting oligarchic control, the fight for democracy and justice and the fight against environmental breakdown are one and the same. Do not allow those who have caused this crisis to define the limits of political action. Do not allow those whose magical thinking got us into this mess to tell us what can and cannot be done



Again here is another place Bernie is leading the way by showing all the fights are really one fight, there is no one fight for wages and one fight for climate and another for a fair democracy, they are all one in the same fight.

His campaign was the first national movement to unite all theses different fights into one.


Excessive greed is a mental sickness which blinds and dumbs down the victim. It is definitely a bad glitch in the cosmic experiment known as homo sapiens. Solution?


How apt orl an quote from an old tng episode ‘ People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We have grown out of our infancy.
RALPH: You’ve got it all wrong. It’s never been about possessions. It’s about power.
PICARD: Power to do what?
RALPH: To control your life, your destiny.
PICARD: That kind of control is an illusion’.

Its like being hooked on a drug –a junkie wanting more fixes


Judge is a Drumpf appointee, on the job for only a year.


oh boy Trumpcorps head just exploded

Don midwest
Don midwest

Bruno Latour about his next conceptual art exhibit

Bruno has been going full steam the few years on Gaia, and how to portray it so people can understand and respond. He has put on three full scale exhibits before at ZKM in Germany. Each of these has resulted in the publication of many essays and numerous authors. The exhibit in 2016 was Reset Modernity! and the associated volume published again by MIT Press.

The next full scale exhibit will be in a couple of years and it will deal with the critical zone. Scientists have used this in a narrower sense — e.g., in CA from the top of a mountain down to the plane, atmosphere and surface geology. Bruno has expanded it to the onion skin, the thin layer from rocks to atmosphere that all life is found.

This is an interview by a man from Japan and discuses how art, science, politics, etc., come together in a multi year planning effort for the next exhibit.

Booting up the Critical Zone

Interview with Bruno Latour

I just finished reading a dissertation on the political theology of Bruno Latour. It is still under wraps. But it clarifies what Bruno has been up to. Modernity under the guise of science, politics (e.g., states), religion, and the economy, has created a top down ideology that has taken over the collective thoughts and actions. It is so pervasive that it is not recognized. Religion is important because this ideology is built on a transcendent, i.e., religious, theme, which is unstated, and is used to justify the top down control. TINA = there is no alternative was the phrase of Margaret Thatcher.


The article also mentions Jayapal, who is taking over as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, which I think is going to be playing a more prominent role in the House from now on.


Unlike most new members if Congress who quickly seek to adapt themselves to Washington’s ways in hopes of ingratiating themselves to leaders and climbing the leadership ladder, Ocasio-Cortez represents something very different: Her roots are in activism, not politics. And she seems to have very little concern as to how her willingness to buck the Way Things Are Done Around Here will have on her career in Congress.

“There’s so many people that know that we’re going into the lion’s den, even within the party,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times’ Azi Paybarah in a insightful profile of her that ran earlier this month. She added, channeling messages that she gets from constituents: “We know how much pressure you’re going to be under even from within your own party. We know you’re going to be under pressure to fall in line. Just please don’t do it.”

And so, Ocasio-Cortez represents both challenge and opportunity for Democrats in Washington. She has the capacity to become an even bigger national star for a party whose leaders in Congress are both a) old and b) not terribly popular. But Ocasio-Cortez is making clear — in word and deed — that she’s not content to play the Washington game — make as few waves as possible, ingratiate yourself to leadership and hope they reward you. She’s playing a different kind of game — and outside of Washington one — that, without question poses a very real threat to the staid status quo of the DC Democratic establishment.


One could make a list of things they like about her, but for me its her brazenness that I find most appealing, we need boldness more than anything right now. Its nice to see Bernie getting some help standing up to the system and speaking truth to power, especially from a woman who can then inspire other women to see there is nothing unappealing about being bold for the right reasons.




On this topic, though I am male I believe its time to end male dominated society. From a social evolutionary standpoint we were originally both male and female dominated societies, but because men are more war like the male dominated societies won out, because when civilizations compete being war like is an advantage. We are now past that point though as we have come to be a planet dominating species, the warlikeness of male dominated society is a detriment causing too much competition when we need cooperation since there is really no external enemy, the enemy is internal.

We now need the more nurturing perspective of female psyche to tackle the global issues that confront us, the inherent male competitiveness is a detriment to our survival.


This too. :O)


I slightly differ on this. Hopefully the candidate that best represents the 99% should be supported regardless of gender.


Im not talking about individuals, im referring to zeitgeist of society.


Pelosi is working with the Progressive Caucus


i don’t see anything about Pelosi agreeing to their climate change panel demands. perhaps by putting them on the committees they will have enough power. i don’t know….


Being on a committee is actually pretty good, especially for freshmen and to be honest, if true, its more than I actually expected. They aren’t just asking for concessions, they are wanting real power.


How are you doing with the fires down south, Leftie? or LitC? LITC?


Im in sw corner of LA and the fires are nw corner so other than some smoke when they were at the highest not much effect here. Im too much in the city to be effected, the danger areas are along the outskirts.


phew. thx.


TJ Cox also supports M4A, and there’s still a chance that CA21 will flip


The further we get from Election Day, the drastically better the midterms results look for Democrats. And more specifically, no one can now conclude that progressives fell flat while the rest of their party was busy retaking the House. Sure, moderate Democrats filled the win column early, but a growing number of progressives have joined them in the days since. The past 24 hours alone have increased their ranks by two: Katie Porter was projected the winner in Southern California on Wednesday night, and Jared Golden was declared the ranked-choice winner in northern Maine on Thursday afternoon. Both defeated two-term Republican incumbents in swing districts.

To be clear, it’s fraught to try to neatly label every candidate, particularly when so many Democratic newcomers had no voting records to define them. But one helpful signifier of a progressive candidate is her support for Medicare for all, an issue that became an early litmus test on the left during the primaries and then a late line of attack from the right during the general election. Public support for the proposal—as amorphous as the term proved to be in some stump speeches—also marked a clear contrast with other Democrats’ far more moderate health care messaging, focused on preserving Obamacare and its protections for pre-existing conditions.

So how did those Medicare for all–touting congressional hopefuls fare in the midterms? It depends a bit on how you crunch the numbers, but the short answer is: pretty darn good!

As of Thursday, these progressives appear to have flipped nine congressional seats from red to blue and were still hanging on in another such race, Texas’ 23rd, where Gina Ortiz Jones trails Rep. Will Hurd by a fraction of a percentage point in an election that remains too close to call. When all the votes are counted, then, they should account for either nine or 10 of the 36 to 42 seats Democrats will have picked up in the midterms. Those victors will join 11 other representative-elects who voiced support for Medicare for all and are replacing Democratic incumbents, as well as more than 100 re-elected incumbents who have already attached their names to such legislation.

Nine flipped a GOP seat from red to blue:

• Harley Rouda defeated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th District (PVI: R+4)

• Katie Porter appears to have defeated Rep. Mimi Walters in California’s 45th (PVI: R+3)

• Jared Golden defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd (PVI: R+2)

• Mike Levin defeated Diane Harkey in California’s 49th (PVI: R+1)

• Josh Harder defeated Rep. Jeff Denham in California’s 10th (PVI: Even)

• Katie Hill defeated Rep. Steve Knight in California’s 25th (PVI: Even)

• Kim Schrier defeated Dino Rossi in Washington state’s 8th (PVI: Even)

• Susan Wild defeated Marty Nothstein in Pennsylvania’s new 7th (PVI: D+1)

• Mary Gay Scanlon defeated Pearl Kim in Pennsylvania’s new 5th (PVI: D+13)


For jcitybone esp.

After the Midterms, Robert Mueller’s Got a New Wingman on Capitol Hill

In an interview, Representative Adam Schiff, of California, described to me his evolving plan to act as Mueller’s congressional backstop, insuring that, even if Trump and Whitaker attempt to shut down the investigation, Mueller’s investigatory work and conclusions will not be covered up. Schiff, who is expected to secure the chairmanship when Democrats approve their new leadership, also made it clear that he will revive and expand the committee’s investigation of the Russia allegations that Republicans on the panel abruptly shut down earlier this year, telling me he would like to recall Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, and Michael Cohen, the President’s estranged former lawyer and fixer, among others, to get answers that the G.O.P. majority wouldn’t or couldn’t extract.

Most urgent is the crisis Trump has provoked in firing Sessions and installing Whitaker. Before our interview, Schiff had published a Washington Post op-ed, on Monday, promising, “Matthew Whitaker, we’re watching you.” In our conversation Schiff expanded on that, saying he was determined to “discover and expose any kind of wrongdoing” regarding the Mueller investigation. “If he takes any action adverse to the investigation or communicates any facts of the investigation to the President or his legal counsel, we’re going to find out about it,” Schiff told me. “There was a strong norm established after Watergate that the White House doesn’t intervene in specific cases. Now this is a specific case that involves the President, and this would go well beyond intervening. This would be affirmatively appointing someone to hinder the investigation.”


This bothers me. Are your things so important that you will risk killing someone?

This is why we need to use our tax money to fund our departments, too. Stop funding “defense” around the world. Start taking care of our home.

And maybe first, another reason to stop using fossil fuels. I wonder how many of the people so willing to shoot also are electing people serious about climate chaos.

I asked him if the effort was coördinated with the fire department. “Nope,” he said. “They were there. But here’s the thing: they do them and we do us. It is a ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation up there right now. There’s downed power lines everywhere. There’s not a lot of comms. There’s houses that are burnt down. There’s people wandering around—you don’t know if it’s a looter. There’s a group of guys that’s going to go back in there and defend the homes.” Earlier that day, the singer Pink’s husband, Carey Hart, had posted a warning to looters on Instagram. “It’s unfortunate that some people take advantage of others in a crisis,” he wrote. “While the malibu fires have been burning, some locals have been fighting off and defending their property against the fires. There have been sightings of looters breaking in to homes. Well, if you are a looter, think twice if you are heading back into malibu. #DefendYourLand #2ndamendment.” The accompanying picture, in black-and-white, showed a group of men in gas masks with handguns and rifles, in front of a barricade spray-painted “Looters will be shot on site! PDC Posse.” (I’m guessing that P.D.C. stands for Point Dume Club, an upscale trailer park on Point Dume.) The call for vigilante justice was childish and churlish, but also chilling. At the meeting in Santa Monica, Peak had urged, “Please do not resort to any violence in our city.”

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